Faulty fire detectors at University Inn raise alarm for students

The University Inn’s fire alarms have been going off frequently. The defective fire alarms at the university are extremely sensitive, causing students to believe there is an emergency when there isn’t. Mia Tom | Sun News Daily

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At a young age, people are taught the basics of fire safety from “stop, drop and roll” to reacting to fire alarms.

These fire safety protocols do not stop when you get to college. In fact, there have been 84 documented fatal fires on campuses across the United States, which shows the importance of fire protocols.

However, residents at University Inn have been facing some issues with their fire alarms.

University Inn is considered on-campus housing for Utah Tech University, with it being about one mile from campus. It provides students with cheaper housing along with a private room and bathroom.

While residents get to enjoy the peace of not having roommates, it has often been disturbed by fire alarms going off at random times. In most cases, they are being set off by steam coming from resident’s showers. As the fire alarm detectors are placed directly outside the bathroom door, when the door opens, it releases the heat and sets the alarms off.

Seth Gubler, director of housing and resident life auxiliaries, said: “It is important to note that a fire alarm sounds the same regardless of how it is set off. One cannot tell the difference between an alarm that was caused by steam versus smoke.”

Due to this, University Inn resident Owen Johnson, a junior English major from St. George, said he is concerned that residents will start to ignore the fire alarms due to their frequent occurrences.

Johnson said: “I’m worried that people might stop going outside every time there’s a fire alarm because they’ll just think it’s someone taking a shower, then be in danger when there might be a real fire. A boy who called wolf situation.”

Not only is there concern about it being ignored, but the fire alarms are starting to interrupt the student’s sleep schedule. Johnson said there have been multiple times it has scared him when he is woken up by the fire alarms going off.

Tyson Winslow, a junior medical laboratory science major from St. George, is another one of the residents dealing with being woken up by the fire alarms.

“I usually only end up having four hours of sleep and a full day of school and work to do,” Winslow said.

The fire alarms usually go off in the morning. Winslow said the alarms have gone off at least once every week since he moved into the apartments in August. In addition, he has accidentally set the alarm off twice because of the steam.

“Now, in order to keep the alarm in check, I need to have the AC in full blast, door closed and window open,” Winslow said. “It got old really quick.”

As of right now, the fire alarms are not being changed at University Inn. Residents recently received a flyer from their resident assistants with a reminder to keep their door shut while showering until all of the steam vents. Winslow said they should either move the detectors or switch them out.

Gubler also said students should react the same regardless of the cause for the fire alarm to sound. It is recommended that students not turn the water temperature too high or take long showers.

The next time you hear a fire alarm, follow the fire safety protocols and “stop, drop and roll.” However, if you’re a resident at University Inn, you might be doing this a lot due to steam from your showers.